*Another day, another “Empire,” lawsuit.
For many fans of the smash hit show on Fox, Cookie Lyon is an original who lives by her own rules.
For Sophie Eggleston, Cookie is her. So much so that the former drug kingpin has filed new court papers in her lawsuit against the hit Fox show and it’s creators, Lee Daniels and Danny Strong as well as screenwriter Rita Miller under claims that she is the real-life influence for Cookie, who is played by Taraji P. Henson.
The Daily Mail cites a report from Page Six which revealed that Eggleston hired Detroit-based lawyer Tom Heed to file the new papers, which support allegations that the producers of “Empire” based Cookie on Eggleston’s 2009 autobiography, “The Hidden Hand.” As a result, Eggleston, who was convicted of manslaughter for ordering a ‘hit’ on a man, is suing the folks behind “Empire” for $300 million and is confident she will come out on top.
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Eggleston’s legal battle over the Cookie character goes back to 2015, which she filed a lawsuit against Daniels, Strong, Miller and Fox. Eggleston’s accusations have been contested by the defendants, who have asked the court to throw out her lawsuit.
“I certainly feel like she has a very good argument,” Heed told Page Six. “What she believes is that the character of herself, especially before she went to prison, as it was expressed in the book ‘The Hidden Hand,’ was pretty much cribbed in total and that is now the character Cookie Lyon.”
Pointing out similarities with Eggleston, the Daily Mail mentioned that Cookie is “a former drug boss who spends time behind bars and then orders an assassination when freed.”
In her lawsuit, Eggleston claims that 23 characteristics and plot points were taken from “The Hidden Hand,” including the fact that Eggleston has a gay son and Cookie has a gay son. In addition, the lawsuit claims that Eggleston and Cookie have a taste for flashy clothes.
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Going deeper into the suit, the Daily Mail referenced a trip Eggleston took in 2011 to meet with Miller at her home. According to Eggleston, she gave Miller a copy of “The Hidden Hand” and spent a great amount of time taking notes in order to turn the book into a screenplay.
The suit goes on to says that Eggleston got a call from Miller several months later saying she was going to pitch her story to Daniels at a meeting in New Jersey. Despite the news she got from Miller, months went by as she didn’t understand why “The Hidden Hand” wasn’t a top priority for Miller. As a result, Eggleston stopped working with her.
When “Empire” came on the scene in 2015, Eggleston noticed that Cookie ‘was similar in behavior, style of dress, and background” to her. In her lawsuit, Eggleston stated that she was “stunned and dismayed to see the various similarities of events and characters . . . so numerous and specific, especially . . . Cookie Lyon, that independent creation was obviously impossible.”